Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine © Iry

A shrine deifying Sugawara Michizane

The god of this shrine is the scholar-politician of the early Heian period, Sugawara Michizane, who used his incredible talent to climb all the way to the key position of Minister of Law, but due to a false charge against him he fell to a minor official position as Dazaifu in Kyushu, which is the actual location where he passed away. After his death it is said that in Kyoto there were numerous natural disasters such as lightning strikes. The rumours spread that this was Michizane’s curse, and so in 947 this shrine dedicated to him was built by the Imperial Court in order to lay rest to his vengeful spirit. This is the present-day Kitano shrine. Because Michizane was a model prodigy of the Heian era, he was widely recognized thereafter as “The god of learning”, and during exam periods students come in large groups to visit the shrine. It’s also said to be a very common destination for school trips. On top of that, it is said that the shrine grants various graces not just limited to education, but also related to the gods of performing arts, good luck, and agriculture, and so it attracts a tremendous amount of religious believers. The present shrine was built in 1607 by Hideyori Toyotomi.


There are a variety of events throughout the year at the Kitano Shrine. The main attractions are the Setsubun Festival (early Feb), the Meihua Festival (Feb 25), the Tanabata Festival (July 7), the Zuiki Festival (October 1~5).  The gardens are also open for the autumn colours viewing from November 1st to late December. There are a variety of other events as well throughout the year, so you might find another event any time you visit. The national treasures of the shrine are the majestic inner gate “Sankomon”, and many tourists come during the fall season to see the maple and plum tree leaves change color.

There is also “Tenjin-san”, a popular temple festival held on the 25th of each month, which attracts large crowds of worshippers and local people. This festival is based on the birthdate of Michizane (June 25th) and his death date (February 25th). There are always plenty of tourists here, and there are often plenty of everyday goods on sale, but you might find unexpected bargains!


Bus: From the JR Kyoto Station, you can take city buses 50 or 101, or also on JR you can take the subway Nijo Station bus 55, JR Enmachi Station bus 103. On all of these you get off at Kitano Tenmangu-mae. Train: On Keifuku Electric Railroad (in Kyoto)'s Kitano white Line you can get off at Ume-machi Station and walk five minutes there.

Image Gallery: Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine

Description: Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine

Sights Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)
Address Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-461-0005 / Fax: 075-461-6556
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:05:00-18:00
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Free admission
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine